The BUGS class of 2023 came from an array of disciplines ranging from biomedical engineering, chemistry, human health, all the way to film production and cinematic animation. Below are the topics of their individual research projects as presented at
the Finale Symposium in August 2023.

Benjamin Ahn

24, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI/Mentor: Matthew Pratt

Rescue of Neuropathy Causing Protein Mutations by OGlcNAc

Amir Arya

’24, Dornsife | Computational Neuroscience

PI: Marcelo Coba | Mentor: Ilse Flores

Investigating the Role of SYNGAP1 Mutations in Neuronal and Astrocytic Function in Intellectual Disability Pathogenesis

Alara Berkmen

’26, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering (Molecular – Cellular)

PI: Maral Mousavi | Mentors: Mona Abdemonem,

“Developing Prussian Blue-Modified Enzymatic Laser-Induced Graphene Sensors for Biomarker Detection”

Rohan Bhave

 ’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Applied Analytics

PI/Mentor: Oscar Aparicio

“Investigating the Effects of Fkh1-dsm on Replication Origin Activation using Quantitative BrdU Immunoprecipitation (QBU)”

Matt Zacchary Blanco

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Cristina Zavaleta | Mentor: Alex Czaja

“A Topographic Raman Imaging Approach for Surgical Margin Assessment”

Finn Cassady

’25, Dornsife/Viterbi | Biology/Computer Science

PI/Mentor: Don Arnold

“Visualizing Synaptic Changes in Association with Memory Formation in Larval Zebrafish”

Allison Chang

’25, Dornsife | Neuroscience, English

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Jerry Chien

“A CRISPR-mediated Genetic Dissection of the Drosophila voltage-gated Calcium Channel Subunits in Tonic and Phasic Neurons”

Avinash Chauhan

’25, Dornsife | Quantitative Biology, Classical Perspectives

PI/Mentor: Kathryn Smith

“The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children with Special Health Care Needs”

Christian Chen

’24, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Eun Ji Chung | Mentor: Noah Trac

“CCR2-targeted Micelles for Diagnosis of Lymph Node Metastases”

Sophia Chen

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering, Computer Programming

PI: Eun Ji Chung | Mentor: Abby Lim

“Natural Killer Small Extracellular Vesicles in Severe COVID-19″

Seoyoung Chung

’24, Dornsife/Keck | Healthcare Studies

PI: Charles McKenna | Mentors: Oskar Sundberg,
Boris Kashemirov

“Synthesis of a Novel Theragnostic Probe for Improved Detection of Bone Diseases”

Caleb Dehn

’25, Dornsife/Thornton | Neuroscience/Music

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Rebecca Stark

“BLOC-1 Complex”

Tomás Delgado Manea

 ’25, Dornsife | Quantitative Biology, Tech Commercialization

PI: John Tower | Mentor: Gary Landis

“Identifying Mifepristone Receptors in Drosophila”

Stella Dziedzic

’25, Dornsife | Biology/Sci & Mgmt of Biotherapeutics

PI: Clay Wang | Mentors: Shu Yi Lin, Jennifer Shyong, Zoey Bowers

“Manipulating mcrA in Filamentous Fungi for Discovery of  Potential Bioactive Compounds”

Jonathan Fan

’25, Dornsife | Cognitive Science, Healthcare Studies

PI/Mentor: Lindsey Schier

“Contributions of Glucose Transceptors to Taste”

Vienna Gao

’25, Dornsife | Neuroscience, Mathematics

PI: Brian Dias | Mentor: Will Taylor

“Examining Cellular Activity in Learning and Memory”

Garrett Goodrum

’26, Dornsife | Biological Sciences

PI/Mentor: Samuel Andrew Hires

“Optimization of GPCR-based Fluorescent Sensors for Large-scale Multiplexed in vivo Imaging of Neuromodulation”

Anika Gupta

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Deepthi Nair | Mentor: Biju Thomas

“Use of Transplantable Grafts Made from Isolated Purified Photoreceptors Derived from Retinal Organoids to Repair Damaged Retina Due to Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)”

Ethan Hamid

’25, Dornsife | Chemistry

PI: Travis Williams | Mentors: Jesse T Yen, Andy Y Chang

“NMR Relaxometry for Cardiovascular Research”

Ryan Higa

’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Foundations in Regulatory Science

PI: Peter Chung | Mentor: Dante Mueller

“Site-Specific Phosphorylation of Tau Constructs 1-4 to Form AD-like Paired Helical Fragments”

Nick Huang

’26, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Stem Cell Biology, Eastern Languages and Culture

PI: Vadim Cherezov | Mentor: Aleksey Raskovalov

“Molecular Movie of Receptor Activation”

Stella Kahl

’24, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI/Mentor: Jeremy Mason

“Comparing Patient Liquid Biopsy Results to Stratify Cancer Type”

Nicholas Kim

’26, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Andrei Irimia | Mentors: Anar Amgalan, Nahian Chowdhury, Nikhil Chaudhari

“Mutual Information of SNPs and Brain MRI Intensities”

Hiu Tung Jennifer Law

’23, Viterbi | Biomedical Molecular – Cellular Engineering

PI: Megan McCain | Mentor: Anastasia Svetlova

“Flexible Electronics for Organ-On-A-Chip Applications”

Sunny Lee

 ’25, Dornsife | Neuroscience

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Nancy Tran

“Characterizing Synaptic Growth and Neurodegeneration in Unc13 Mutants and ALS Disease Models”

Shirley Liang

 ’26, Mann | Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Cinematic Arts

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Elizabeth Loxterkamp

“Establishment of Novel Antibodies for Neto in Drosophila Melanogaster”

Emmett Liljegren

’25, Dornsife | Human Biology, Spanish

PI: Peter Kuhn | Mentor: Elizabeth Qi

“Liquid Biopsy Analysis of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma”

Cathy Ma

’25, Dornsife/Viterbi | Quantitative Biology/Computer Science

PI: Irene Chiolo | Mentors: Jacob Miller, Chetan Rawal

“Quantitative Analysis of Double Strand Break Repair Pathways in Heterochromatin”

Thea Millam

’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI: Clay Wang | Mentors: Jennifer Shyong, Shu Yi Lin, Zoey Bowers

“Manipulating mcrA in Filamentous Fungi  for Discovery of  Potential Bioactive Compounds”

Leila Mirsafian

24, Davis | Human Development & Aging

PI: Mireille Jacobson | Mentors: Elizabeth Joe,
Julie Zissimopoulos

“Analyzing Diversity Reporting in Clinical Trials of Alzheimer’s Disease Interventions”

Tristan Mitchell

’24, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI: Cornelius Gati | Mentors: Ravi Yadav,
Zenia Motiwala, Saif Khan

“Expression and Purification of the Mu Opioid Receptor in Complex with G Proteins for Cryo-EM Studies”

Connor Morgan

 ’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI: Susan Forsburg | Mentor: JiPing Yuan

“The Characterization of Topoisomerase II-191 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe in Response to Replication Stress”

Serena Ndjuissi Pawa

’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Marketing

PI/Mentor: Andrew Gracey

“Determination of the effects of Carbohydrate Metabolism Pathways on Cellular Viscosity”

Kenneth Nguyen

 ’25, Dornsife | Quantitative Biology, Health Care Studies, Connected Devices and Making

PI: Mike Bienkowski | Mentor: Terri Stephen

“Machine Learning Quantification of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology within Human Post-mortem Tissue”

Thien Nguyen

’24, Dornsife | Human Biology

PI: Justin Schaal | Mentors: Michael Selsted, Dat Tran

“Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of Engineered Analog Peptides of Rhesus θ-Defensin”

Stephen Nishi

’25, Dornsife | Human Biology, Healthcare Studies

PI: Zhen Zhao | Mentor: Tenghuan Ge

“The Role of GPR4 on Blood-Brain Barrier Maintenance”

Rachel Osei Nsafoah

’25, Dornsife | Health & Human Sciences, Global Health

PI: Melissa Wilson | Mentors: Raina Pang

“Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology”

Ali Osouli

’24, Viterbi | Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology)

PI: Eun Ji Chung | Mentor: Yi Huang

“Development of Kidney Targeting Nanomedicine for Polycystic Kidney Disease”

Lydia Park

’25, Dornsife | Computational Neuroscience, Health Care Studies and Artificial Intelligence

PI/Mentor: Hyungjin Eoh

“The Role of Trehalose Metabolism in Mycobacterial Multidrug Resistance Development”

Mohitha Rapaka

’25, U of Texas at Austin | Human Biology

PI: Vinay Duddalwar | Mentor: Dean Wallace

“mIF Analysis to Identify Angiogenesis Biomarkers in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma”

Sarah Relle

’24, Dornsife | Neuroscience/Sci & Mgmt of Biotherapeutics

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Nancy Tran

“Quantifying Unc13 Levels in Unc13 Mutants and ALS Disease Models”

Chris Rincon

’24, Viterbi | Chemical Engineering (Biochemical)

PI: Noah Malmstadt | Mentor: Lucia Dalle Ore

“Utilizing Fluorescently-Labeled GUVs as a Platform for Investigating Peptide-Bilayer Interactions”

Monica Rodriguez

25, Dornsife | Quantitative Biology, Cultural Competence in Medicine

PI: Peter Kuhn | Mentor: Mike Schmidt

“Correlating Copy Number Status with Gene Expression in Cell Lines”

Noah Rubio Moreno

’24, UCLA | Linguistics and Psychology

PI: Scott Fraser | Mentors: Peter Luu, Thai Truong

“Neural Basis of Number Sense in Zebrafish”

Catcher Salazar

’26, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI: Leonardo Morsut | Mentor: Josquin Courte

“Cellular Engineering of synNotch-Inducible LOX Expression for Synthetic Elongation”

Ayaka Sato

’25, Dornsife | Biological Sciences

PI: Pinchas Cohen | Mentor: Hiroshi Kumagai

“The Effect of Mitochondrial Microprotein MOTS-c on Immobilization-Induced Skeletal Muscle Atrophy”

Joshua Senior

’25, Dornsife | Biological Sciences

PI: Mara Mather | Mentor: Andy Kim

“Mechanisms of Attentional Control and Suppression In Aging”

Svara Shah

’25, Dornsife | Human Biology, Health Innovation

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Elizabeth Loxterkamp

“Localization of the Auxiliary Glutamate Receptor Subunit Neto in Drosophila Melanogaster”

Andrea Shehi

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Biju Thomas | Mentor: Deepthi Nair

“Ultrasound Stimulation of Retinal Organoids”

Ingus Stegis

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering

PI: Cristina Zavaleta | Mentor: Pegah Bagheri

“Fabrication of SERS NPs for Targeted Therapies”

Adith Swarup

’25, Dornsife | Neuroscience, Economics

PI: Spencer Kellis | Mentors: Brian Lee

“Hippocampal Gamma Band Modulation During Movement”

KayLynn Vroman

’24, Dornsife | Human Biology

PI: Valery Fokin | Mentor: Kevin Vargas

“Investigating the Hydrolytic Stability of a Novel Naloxone Derivative”

Justin Wang

’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

PI: Bérénice Benayoun | Mentor: Min Hoo Kim

“Single-Cell Exploration of Ovarian Aging Across Vertebrates”

Luyi Wang

’25, Dornsife | Neuroscience, Science Health and Aging

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Jiawen Chen

“Interrogating Synaptic Physiology Using GCaMP8fbased Quantal Analysis and Electrophysiology at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Function”

Sage Wheeler

’24, Dornsife | Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Emphasis, English Literature

PI: Megan McCain | Mentors: Nina Maxey

“Fabricating Patterned Cell Cultures to Quantify Myometrial Contractile Forces for the Study of Uterine Disorders”

Sara Wu

’24, Davis | Human Development & Aging

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Nancy Tran

“Optimizing Stathmin Reagents and Exploring the Interaction between Stathmin-mediated Neurodegeneration and Injury Signaling”

Yunan Wu

’24, Dornsife | Biochemistry/Global Health

PI: Irene Chiolo | Mentors: Chetan Rawal

“Role of Heterochromatin Protein 1 (HP1) in Heterochromatic DNA Double Strand Breaks Repair”

Mateo Xia

’25, Dornsife | Biochemistry, Applied Analytics

PI: Zhongwei Li | Mentors: Megan Schreiber, Carrie Zhang, Biao Huang

“Generation of Fluorescent Reporters to Aid in the Capture of Synthetic Kidney-competent Human Nephron Progenitor Cells”

Qian Yan

’26, Dornsife | Biological Sciences, Anthropology

PI: John Tower | Mentor: Gary Landis

“Identifying Mifepristone Receptors in Drosophila”

Jadynne Zane

’25, Viterbi | Biomedical Engineering, Computer Programming

PI: Cristina Zavaleta | Mentors: Olga Eremina, Augusta Fernando

“Evaluating the Multiplexing Specificity and Sensitivity of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Nanoparticle Flavors”

Lily Zhang

’24, Dornsife | Biochemistry

PI: Irene Chiolo | Mentors: Nadejda Butova, Chiara Merigliano

“Role of Ulp1 in Heterochromatic DSB Repair”

Lucia Zhang

’26, Dornsife | Biological Sciences

PI: Michael “Doc” Edge | Mentors: Tina Lasisi, Feriel Ouerghi

“Assessing Linkage Disequilibrium Scores Near the CODIS Forensic Genetic Loci”

Darren Zhou

’26, Dornsife | Biological Sciences

PI: Dion Dickman | Mentor: Yu Xiong

“Application of CRISPR/Cas9 and Polymerase Chain Reaction to Determine Pre-synaptic Effect on Drosophila Melanogaster”

Xiaoyuan Zhu

’26, Dornsife | Cognitive Science

PI/Mentor: Stephen Read

“Introducing Executive Function to Computational Motivated Decision-Making Model”

Interested in working together or have an idea to share?

Bridge Institute

Main Number:

Bridge Undergraduate Science Program (BUGS)